“There is something known as the dead-in-bed syndrome. That’s when somebody goes to sleep, and their blood sugar falls so far during the night; they don’t wake up. This is a fear that every diabetic that is using insulin experiences” – Mark Ruefenacht, Dogs4Diabetics

Imagine living in this fear every night. For some, this is reality.

Mark Ruefenacht, a local Jefferson Award recipient in 2012 and 2013, was recognized by Multiplying Good for his community work in Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) and Dogs4Diabetes (D4D). In 2004, Mark founded D4D, a nonprofit organization born out of science and compassion, after the realization that he might suffer from diabetic blindness in the future as an insulin-dependent diabetic. His service journey unfolded in 1996 when he began raising guide dogs as a volunteer with Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Over time, he began to realize the transformative power that service dog loyalty and companionship had on people's lives. This forensic scientist and metrology instructor found himself at the intersection of two worlds, service and science, when an idea struck him like a bolt of lightning: could dogs be trained to detect low blood sugar episodes in insulin-dependent diabetics?

After 3 long years of testing and training, D4D became the first service dog provider backed by scientific research for insulin-dependent diabetics. D4D has been providing service dogs free of charge for D4D clients since 2004, with their unique ability to detect critically low blood sugar levels.

Today, the legacy of Dogs4Diabetics continues strong, with service dogs still being placed in the homes of those who need them. To learn more visit ourdogssavelives.org.